lower back massage

How to Give a Lower Back Massage to Ease Pain

Lower back pain is a common condition for adults. Many factors can cause this discomfort, ranging from inactivity to improper lifting as well as normal wear and tear of the back muscles.

Common treatments for lower back pain include rest, use of ice and heat, and medication.

If you are looking for a solution for temporary symptoms, a back massage can offer you instant relief.

You can choose to have a massage from a professional, a friend, or a family member. It is also possible to administer some massage techniques by yourself. Lower back massage is meant to soothe the soft tissues and deliver relief from lower back pain.

Types of Lower Back Pain

Generally, there are two types of back pain. They are determined by the length of time the patient experiences the pain.

Acute back pain – This is a type of back pain that resolves within three months. Ninety percent of people suffering from acute back pain find relief after a week or two.

Chronic back pain – This type of back pain lasts for longer than three months.

Massage can help with  both types of back pains but offer more relief to people with acute back pain than those with chronic back pain.

Giving a Back Massage

The American College of Physicians guidelines includes massage therapy as a treatment option for acute back pain.

With simple basic guidelines, anyone can give a back massage to people with lower back pain.

When giving a back massage, you should avoid applying pressure directly onto the spine. Always use gentle pressure to prevent discomfort or injury.

To get started, you will need a massage table or a massage mattress, towels, and massage essentials.

  • Allow the massage recipient to remove their shirt or ask them to wear a loose-fitting shirt that can be raised to expose the lower back. Position the recipient on the massage table on their stomach.
  • Position a pillow beneath the breastbone. Roll a towel and place it under the forehead and place another one under the ankles.
  • Cover the legs with a towel and tuck down the underwear or waistband to protect it from being stained by the massage oil.
  • Lubricate your hands with massage oil and spread some on the lower back using gentle strokes.

Once the recipient is prepped for the massage, you can begin administering the massage using different methods. It would be best if you massaged the sides of the lower back independently.

  • Palm circling – extend your arms and place one open palm on top of the other. In this position, make circular motions along the lower back, originating the movements from the waist.
  • Muscle lifting – keeping your fingers straight, spread your thumbs and lift the lower back muscles by turning the wrist of the hands one after the other.
  • Thumb circling – turn towards the feet and make gentle strokes originating from the middle back heading towards the hips. Repeat this two more times.
  • Repeat the muscle lifting, as earlier, on the muscles around the hips.

After going through these motions, there are a few more moves you can repeat to ease back pain completely.

  • Knuckling – make fists with your hands and rub them on the back. Start from the mid-back and gently move downwards to the hip area as you avoid the spine.
  • Back spreads – spread your palms and press them slowly along the mid-back and hips.
  • For the final technique, position your hands on each side of the lower back. Move them back and forth across the back.

Repeat the above techniques on the sides of the lower back. Finish off the massage by working both sides of the lower back at the same time.

Lower Back Massage Techniques

There are numerous types of massage for lower back pain. Some can be safely tried at home while others should only be done by a massage professional.

Deep tissue massage

This is a type of massage that requires an expert. A deep tissue massage requires the use of force to reach connective tissues and muscles on a deeper level.

Therapeutic massage

This is a type of massage that targets any part of the body, including the lower back. It is meant to ease discomfort or pain. Read more here.

Swedish massage

This type of massage is gentler than deep tissue massage but is also best administered by a professional. It makes use of long, circular movements, body kneading, tapping, and vibration.

Shiatsu massage

This is a type of Japanese massage that uses rhythmic pressure over the body. It is commonly used to treat lower back pain. It stimulates the body to self-heal.

Sports massage

This is a style of massage therapy mostly used on athletes. It is meant to prevent injury or help to deal with muscle aches and pains, including lower back pain.

The Benefits of Lower Back Massage

  • Relaxes the muscles
  • Relieves short term pain
  • Eases stress connected to lower back pain
  • Increases blood and lymph flow

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